GORE IN THE STORE
Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans
TERRIFIER 2 ****
Directed by Damien Leone.
Starring Lauren LaVera, Elliott Fullam, David Howard Thornton, Felissa Rose, Amelie McLain, Chris Jericho.
Horror, USA, 138 mins, cert 18.
Released in the UK on DVD, Blu-ray & Digital via Signature Entertainment on 24th October 2022.
Fed up with horror movies acting as slow-burning metaphors about mental illness? Are you done with two-hour-plus explorations on the nature of grief? If so, filmmaker Damien Leone has the antidote for all that gloom and misery in the shape of TERRIFIER 2, the long-awaited sequel to his 2017 cult hit TERRIFIER, the gore-fest that gave his Art the Clown character his first full-length movie, paying homage to the gritty, grindhouse violence of the video nasty era and introducing a new slasher villain to butcher his way into the ranks of the big boys.
So how do you make a sequel to a movie that was pretty much perfect in its encapsulation of what it set out to achieve? By making it bigger, gorier and – perhaps to its detriment – longer, that’s how. If you’ve seen the first movie – and if you are reading this then you really should have – then you’ll know how it ended and there is no need to explain how Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton) is back, but by the time you think about the why’s and the how’s you’re already well into one of the greatest pre-credit sequences outside of a James Bond movie, where Leone fully establishes Art as a maniac that even Freddy Krueger would find a bit too much. For his part, David Howard Thornton is clearly having a blast as the demented clown and has fully made the character his own, giving Art little tics and movements that were there in the first movie but as Thornton has fully embraced the character now it feels a lot more confident.
But anyone coming to TERRIFIER 2 isn’t coming to it for the acting or the character development, even though there is a bit here. Art has his sights set on teenager Sienna (Lauren LaVera) and her younger brother Jonathan (Elliott Fullam), who has an interest in serial killers and is very aware of who Art the Clown is, and the two siblings must try and survive Halloween night as the killer clown goes on the rampage; it really is that simple. Alright, there are some other small details thrown in, like the kids’ connection to Art through their deceased father – don’t worry, you won’t care by the end of it – and the introduction of a creepy character credited as The Little Pale Girl (Amelie McLain), a freakish little girl clown with a rictus grin and more than a whiff of Harley Quinn about her. Her presence makes no sense and you’ll probably be scratching your head by the end of it all, but she does make a suitably weird addition to a movie that does transcend its simple slasher roots by the final scene, although where the inevitable TERRIFIER 3 will go is probably more frightening than anything you’ll see in this movie.
The acting is strong overall, with David Howard Thornton being the clear standout but Lauren LaVera is a definite contender for being one of the best female protagonists in any slasher movie, especially given how strange Sienna’s story arc is. LaVera gives an intense performance and seems to be taking it all very seriously, even when she has to go to battle with Art armed with what appears to be a weapon straight out of CONAN THE BARBARIAN, and her transformation into a full-on action heroine is a highlight, turning a fairly bland character into someone to root for, and how often do you root for the younger characters in a modern horror movie?
But TERRFIER 2 is about the kills and Damien Leone does not disappoint when it comes to the brutal stuff, as Art stabs, shoots, beats, decapitates, whips, flays, pulps and throws acid at near enough everyone he comes across, in what can only be described as the most visceral and gleefully bloody display of extreme violence seen since the glory days of torture porn; yes, the original TERRIFIER was gloriously gory and silly when it came to its kills but TERRIFIER 2 is more than one or two central set pieces – it’s a continuous barrage of carnage!
There are those who will not find the joy in TERRFIER 2. There are those who will claim it is not a ‘horror’ movie as it does not comply with the notion that ‘horror’ movies have to be psychological or supernatural (although that last one could be contentious, if you make it to the end), but horror is a broad church that gathers together all sorts of horrific (hence the name) content, from ghosts that shout “BOO!” to giant creatures with large teeth running amuck, and to masked killers with ingenious weapons and the intent to use them, and so those people who dismiss TERRIFIER 2 as just blood and guts with no substance- however correct that assumption may be – are incorrect to say it is not a horror movie. However, if you are not one of those dismissive people and you love OTT gore, comically grotesque effects and Art the Clown – for it is he who is central to the whole franchise and there is plenty of him here – then TERRIFIER 2 will not disappoint as it takes pretty much everything that made the first movie so much fun and pushes it all to the extreme, which is saying something when the standout set piece from that movie was a woman being hacksawed in half from the crotch up (or down, as she was trussed upside down at the time). In fact, the only real negative you could throw at TERRIFIER 2 is that extensive running time, because no matter how much you like blood, guts, brains and other gooey innards being flung around the place, 138 minutes is way to long for this type of movie and there are a few moments where the momentum dips – scenes that mainly involve Jonathan and his mother, who is an extremely irritating character – that could easily have been trimmed with no detrimental effect.
But overall, TERRIFIER 2 delivers everything that Damien Leone promised when the movie was first announced, i.e., more kills, more gore, more Art the Clown, and more insanity than you have previously witnessed. If you enjoyed TERRIFIER and wanted more of it, then here it is; if you didn’t, then there is nothing for you to see here.
Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans